Ekurhuleni - Brandon Stone played awfully good golf in the last tournament he
played. He won the Alfred Dunhill Championship by seven strokes, and he's back
in the saddle for this week's SA Open hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni at
Glendower Golf Club.
Kevin will be an unobtrusive figure following Stone as he sets out on Thursday
to try to become the first man since Trevor Immelman to win the tournament in
successive years, and Stone's fine form is in no small measure due to his father's
"You can see
a direct correlation when he's with me and how I play," said Stone. "A lot more
consistent golf, it's less sporadic and it's professional. I think that’s the
element he brings to my game. I just get a lot more focused when he's there."
although the world No 2 Rory McIlroy is in the field, and is obviously
the man to beat, a Stone this focused is a serious contender in any company.
in the 11-under-par 61 he shot in a practice round in the company of two top
amateurs on Monday.
"I think yesterday's round got a bit of the rust of
December off," he said. "I wasn’t really planning on firing on all cylinders. I
wasn't quite sure; the game felt good but you never really know after December
break how it’s going to pan out. 61 doesn’t hurt the confidence."
confidence are a potent combination, and Stone knows who to thank for it.
dad being a professional golfer, he obviously has that background knowledge and
knows what he's talking about so I take whatever he says and digest it and try
and process it the way that I can," he said.
"He has been incredible. As far as
a father goes, it doesn't get much better and as a mentor in golf, I know it
doesn't get much better."
He will need
to feel that calming influence ahead of the first round.
"I think the most
exciting thing this week is when I stand on the tee box on Thursday and they
say 'Please welcome the defending champion, Brandon Stone.' I'm getting goose
flesh right now thinking about that," he said.
ironically, the first thing I said last year when I won, when I was driving
home with my dad. I said, 'I get to come here for the rest of my life; I get to
play every single SA Open until they won’t let me anymore', and that is going
to be a long time. So this tournament is always going to be very close to my